The Cleveland Park Historic District is an intact community integrating residences, apartment buildings and neighborhood retail shopping located on a hill overlooking the city center but separated from it by Rock Creek Park, a deep geological chasm.
A distinguishing feature of the district is the large number of frame houses with local Rock Creek granite foundations, in a city of predominantly brick structures, representing a full range of architectural styles popular around the turn of the century including, but not limited to: Carpenter Gothic, Italianate, Queen Anne, Shingle, Dutch Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, Colonial Revival, Neoclassical, and Tudor revival houses in various styles, such as Beaux Arts, Art Deco, International style, and modern or contemporary. Subsequently, brick and some stone houses were built in the teens and twenties. Stylistically, the neighborhood is a veritable museum of changing tastes representing the overlay of history in a continuous line of development from 1894 to 1941.
The cohesiveness of the architectural fabric and scale of the neighborhood derives from the continuous line of development which occurred from 1894 to 1941. Cleveland Park's initial growth was in direct response to the opening of the electric streetcars connecting this area with downtown. Streetcar service began in 1890 on Wisconsin Avenue and 1892 on Connecticut Avenue. The community grew rapidly, continuously reflecting changing aesthetic tastes, housing needs and lifestyles.
The houses were largely constructed between 1894 and 1930, overlapping with the most intense period of apartment and retail/commercial construction between 1920 and 1941. The district also includes two estates which predate the development of the streetcar suburb. Two additional estates were established after the initial phase of the suburb was completed. All four estates have maintained the integrity of their buildings and grounds including some of the original landscaping schemes.
The historic district includes approximately 1000 buildings that date to circa 1880-1941.
DC Inventory Identification: November 8, 1964
DC designation: November 19, 1986 (effective April 27, 1987)
National Register listing: April 27, 1987